Nominated by Eric Corey Freed
For the past year, I have been studying the plight of the lost city of Detroit. Like most United States rust belt cities, Detroit has fallen on hard times, maybe more so than most.
Once called the "Arsenal of Democracy," Detroit has now come to epitomize American Urban Blight. The city of Detroit has been hit with nearly 30% unemployment, a disintegrating manufacturing base and a corresponding population. What was once the 4th most important city in the United States has, in just 50 years, declined to the point where Detroit could just vanish.
A third of the city of Detroit is now vacant land, leaving the remaining residents dispersed over the 139 square miles. The city was once home to 2 million people, and now has less than half of that (nearly the same amount as tiny San Francisco). In fact, you could fit Manhattan, Boston and San Francisco within the sprawling limits of Detroit and have space leftover.
Detroit is the canary in the coalmine. Every other Rust Belt city faces the same eventual fate. Amid this chaos is architect, Dan Pitera, Director of the Detroit Collaborative Design Center. Although he has never been mentioned in the pages of WorldChanging before, many of you may know his work.
The DCDC provides architectural and other design services for community organizations and other non-profit organizations (YouTube video). Dan has been leading the charge of the rebuilding of Detroit and is helping to right-size the once great city to help regain its former glory.
Image Credit: Dan Pitera via University of Detroit Mercy.
Eric Corey Freed is the Founding Principal of organicARCHITECT and the author of "Green$ense for the Home: Rating the Real Payoff from 50 Green Home Projects."
Editor's Note: This piece is part of Worldchanging's Attention Philanthropy campaign. All week long, the Worldchanging Network will be delivering "attention grants" to worthy projects, individuals, resources and more. You can learn more about these gifts of notice and find other entries by clicking here.